We live downtown and from where we’re standing — there’s a scooter revolution going on! Scooters are great for city living. It gets kids out of the stroller and burning some energy — yay! Kids can get on them relatively early (our youngest was probably scooting at 20 months — but 2.5-3 seems pretty reasonable). Average scoot-speed matches adult walk-speed, so it’s great for when you want to get from point A to a not-too-far point B. Scooters are easy to carry if you want to jump on the TTC or a bus in the middle of an adventure. They’re easy to park. We have 2 boys — 4.5 and 6.5 and our life got considerably easier once the kids could both scoot.
Here is how we made it work at our house:
Helmets – always — this is non-negotiable for us. Since our kids are often scooting on city streets, they have to wear helmets all the time. Don’t get them started without one — it’s hard to go back on it, I hear.
Streets – walking – Our kids walk their scooters across the street. ALWAYS. Yes, it slows you down when you have to cross, but it means that they won’t accidentally scoot on to a road — because they are programmed to stop.
Unexpected Stops – When a parent yell stop — everyone stops. If you don’t – I carry your scooter for 5 minutes and you have to walk.
No racing on big streets – I’m not a huge ran of racing on scooters. Sidewalks are narrow. It’s easy to get wheels caught. Sometimes I feel like I should give them this. But never on big streets.
There’s no rule-breaking forgiveness – Our rules are hard and fast for scootering. The very first time our kids look like they are going to scoot onto a road, or don’t dismount at a street or don’t stop when we say stop – we remind them of the rule and tell them that next time they break it, we’re taking the scooter away for 5 minutes. If they do it again — make good on the threat. In my experience — this does the trick. Yes — it might lead to a meltdown. But hold firm. In 5 minutes they’ll have their scooter back and they won’t want to risk breaking the rules again. If you should come upon a second infraction in the same scooter session — it’s over. We take the kids and the scooter and go home. Yes — it ruins the outing, but you won’t have to do it again. Once they see how serious you are — they’ll get it.
Our kids love being mobile on scooters — and so do most of the kids in our neighbourhood. It is possible to manage the risks of city scootering as long as you’re serious and consistent about it. Kids are smart. They want to scooter – they’ll follow the rules once they realize that’s the only way they will get to scooter. It’s a win-win for everybody.